MMQB recap

Another capacity crowd greeted coach Pete Carroll for the Monday Morning Quarterback luncheon in the Town & Gown banquet hall. There was a lot of mixed conversation at our table about the performance of the team with a consensus that we were not really ever in jeopardy of losing the game at Oregon. A few horror stories were told about hostile treatment by Oregon fans but in general, things were positive.

As long-time readers know, I am not supposed to quote Pete directly from the meeting. To honor that request but still provide you with an interesting review, I'm going to inject some of Pete's quotes from newspapers and other publications to fill in gaps when those quotes generally conform to what Pete said at the meeting.

In his introductory remarks, Pete explained that he was pleased with the way our team handled adversity early in the Oregon game. The Daily Breeze quoted him as saying, "You need to have all these lessons as you go down through your schedule so that you can draw on them". The Press Enterprise quoted Pete from the locker room after the game as saying, "That was one of the best team wins we've had" and his remarks today followed the same line.

One comment Pete gave about the feeling that we would win was the same observation that was reported in the Daily Trojan: "Once we scored and moved right down the field again and we got close again, we started to feel it, you could tell," Carroll said.

Coach Carroll used a little crowd warming technique by asking repetitive questions with crowd responses. Do you win game in the fist period – crowd answers NO! Do you win games in the second period? -- crowd answers NO! Do you win games in the third period? – crowd answers NO! Do you win games in the fourth period? -- HELL YEAH! With that, we were off to the races.

He began the review of selected plays by showing kickoff coverage. We had mostly excellent coverage and he showed us the best. We also looked at the KO return by Desmond Reed who ranks among the leaders nationally.

The coach then turned to a review of defensive plays. He was very complimentary about the play of the defensive line and showed several plays featuring each player. I would say that the review confirmed my opinion that Frostee Rucker had a great game and could be considered for significant honors if this level of performance continues. His remarks were in keeping with the report from the Daily News stating: "I really felt we controlled things with our four defensive lineman," Carroll said. "In that situation, our guys thought they could take control of the game. It was great for us to take the storm that hit us."

Coach showed the increasingly good coverage by Darnell Bing. He played his best pass defense IMO.

He showed the interception by Josh Pinkard. He reiterated the remarks quoted by the Daily Breeze as saying, "Josh has been adept in his limited experience; he's a real natural at being in the right spot".

The offensive plays were a complete smorgasbord of all the TD's plus others. On many plays, he stopped action to show the excellent blocking by the offensive line. We saw both of LenDale's TD's. Our OL just pushed the DL back into the end zone. Several highlight plays from Reggie were reviewed to the delight of everyone. On the reverse TD, I was surprised to notice that the final block before Reggie scored was made by Matt Leinart.

We also looked at Matt's run for a first down where he juked a defensive player. Pete had a lot of fun with that one.

The pass from Matt to David Kirtman was one of my favorites. Several passes to Dwayne Jarrett and Steve Smith were shown and analyzed. While showing Dwayne's end zone catch Pete gave the same information he gave the Orange County Register: "After losing the ball to an instant replay ruling early in the game, Carroll tried to rush his kicking unit onto the field to attempt an extra point after one of receiver Dwayne Jarrett's two touchdowns. He conceded Sunday that he wanted to start the next play before the touchdown catch - a close call because Jarrett barely got a foot down in the end zone - could be reviewed".

We finished the tape with a look at the good run by Desmond at the end of the game.

The question and answer period followed. The first question was about ASU and his answer was close to his quote in the Daily Breeze. : "They're not getting stopped at all,'' Carroll said. "They're just rolling. I'm really impressed with Sam Keller just coming out of nowhere from the end of last year. ... It looks like he's been playing for a long time, making experienced decisions and accurate throws.''

A lady asked the best question of the day when she asked the coach using great football lingo, to describe the difference between 1-gap and 2-gap defense. She acknowledged that she knew he was a proponent of the 1-gap philosophy. She got a round of applause for the question and Pete came all the way across the luncheon hall to give her a high five.

A question was asked about the Oregon TD scored over John Walker and Pete's answer was very similar to the report in the Orange County Register to the effect that: John Walker will continue to start at cornerback, even though he got beat for a touchdown pass again. Carroll said he thought Walker played well and only was beat because he made a mistake on the type of coverage signaled in from the sideline; essentially, Walker thought he had safety help that wasn't there.

Pete responded to a question about the Matt's comment about a slippery ball with about the same language as reported by the Daily News: "USC coach Pete Carroll noticed a difference in Leinart in the first half, too. "He seemed frustrated," Carroll said. ‘The ball felt real dry to him. He's had trouble holding the ball'".

To a question about the play of Kevin Ellison, Pete's answer was much like the quote in the Daily News: Freshman safety Kevin Ellison also drew praise, playing a significant role as a blitzer. "Ellison's earned himself playing time," Carroll said. "He just learned this stuff on Thursday. I'm real proud of him." A question about not kicking a FG but going for the first was answered much like the report in the Daily News: Carroll defended not kicking a 47-yard field goal and going for it on fourth-and-10 against Oregon. "We're rarely going to try those," he said. "We're looking to get a first down. I'd rather go for it. I think it says you don't want to try a field goal (when you go for it)."

The meeting ended around 1:30.


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